Colleges, Universities are Ineffective without AI, Machine Learning

As advances in technology stack on each other, bringing further advancement into reach, our societies have changed at a breakneck pace. The host of applications and tools we use and now take for granted has revolutionized our commerce, our politics, our interpersonal relationships, and our fundamental perspectives about our lives. Integrated within this body of continuously-refined technological innovations, we look out on the world in a different way than our ancestors could have imagined.

It should come as no surprise that these changes have permeated our education systems as well. Students in the 21st century have access to promising new modes of learning made possible in particular by breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. With 86% of educators now convinced that technology should play a core role in how we teach future generations, a watershed phase is underway. As we adopt more and more powerful technologies in the classroom, I believe companies that focus on test preparation and lifelong professional preparation will transform alongside K-12 and college education, giving rise to a student population and a workforce that are more adaptive, better-supported, and able to fulfill their obligations with greater ease than ever before.

A branch of AI, machine learning gives computers the capability to make predictions and recognize patterns more accurately over time, often without directions from an outside agent. This specialty has massive potential to remove obstacles both for learners and instructors, which is a major reason why the market for AI in education is projected to grow more than 40% year over year and reach $17.83 billion by 2027. The main emerging applications of machine learning in education include automating repetitive tasks that draw teachers’ attention away from more complex responsibilities, identifying priorities of improvement for students and curriculums, personalizing content to match individual needs, and offering students specific guidance whenever they need it (often outside of business hours).

These are the three most important benefits of AI-powered solutions in classrooms and professional education settings:


No two people learn the same way, and education researchers have found strong evidence that personalized forms of teaching produce better outcomes than the alternative. AI can help make that advantage widely available, first at the outset of a course or program—by collecting information about learners’ goals and tailoring content to match—and also while the course is in progress—by monitoring learning speed, preferences, and areas of difficulty.

Machine learning can create personalized study plans with dynamic learning paths, integrated review with flash cards and spaced repetition, and targeted practice that uses knowledge tracing and predictive performance models, helping students eliminate redundant work as well as identifying hidden underlying trends to achieve the greatest improvement in performance with the least effort. Finally, AI can open up global classrooms to students who speak different languages or who have visual or hearing impairments, ensuring that they find the instruction best-suited to their needs.


While there is no substitute for a human teacher, many routine tasks can be performed and many simple questions answered by AI-powered chatbots or tutors. This provides a twofold benefit, putting a source of authoritative information at students’ fingertips and reducing the amount of administrative work teachers have to perform, giving them time back to spend on one-on-one instruction that requires more focus and yields better results, as well as on their own development.

24/7 Support

Learners often study at irregular hours, especially when preparing for tests, in the context of professional development to augment their careers, or if they are taking courses from separate time zones. AI and machine learning can help fill gaps in support that would otherwise hinder their progress under these circumstances, offering round-the-clock access to answers and guidance to keep them moving toward their goals.

Looking Ahead

Bringing AI and machine learning into education settings will entail new challenges—concerns are already being raised about resource disparities, data security, and the need for more training for teachers—and it will look different in each case. Just as students are unique, schools and education organizations are unique, each with its own limitations, objectives, and member or user needs to consider.

Whatever the route that educators take as they bring similar capabilities into their classrooms, one thing seems certain: as our intertwinement with technology deepens, future learners will see radical changes made to promote their growth and development. A new day has arrived in education, and we will shape it with the power of artificial intelligence.

Matt Riley is Co-Founder and CEO of Blueprint Prep.